COVID-19: Vietnam on high alert as cases surge hinh anh 1A chemicals soldier disinfects the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam recorded a three-digit daily jump in COVID-19 cases for the first time on May 10, with 129 infections, heard a meeting held by the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on the day.

Five COVID-19 variants found in Vietnam

COVID-19 cases in Vietnam continued to rise over the past nearly one week, from 18 cases on May 5 to 64 on May 6, 92 on May 9, and 129 on May 10, especially in Bac Ninh province, Hanoi and Da Nang city.

As of 7pm on May 10, the country registered 3,461 cases, including 2,028 locally-transmitted infections.

Since the fourth wave of the pandemic began in Vietnam on April 27, a total of 458 cases have been reported in 26 cities and province nationwide.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the pandemic is developing complicatedly in Vietnam, with new clusters and variants detected in many localities.

COVID-19: Vietnam on high alert as cases surge hinh anh 2Samples for COVID-19 testing (Photo: VNA)

A total of five variants, including two from the UK and India, have been detected in Vietnam, according to Associate Prof. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the ministry.

The COVID-19 variant first found in the UK spreads 1.7 times quicker than normal strains. However, the variant found in India can spread even faster via air.

The health ministry, therefore, stressed the need to draw up a scenario if the situation worsens.

26 cities, provinces on alert

Long pointed out the complex developments of the pandemic worldwide, including Vietnam’s neighbouring countries of Cambodia and Laos, and others in the region like India and Thailand.

As from April 27, the pandemic has spread to 26 cities and provinces in Vietnam, with clusters detected at hospitals, residential areas, planes, bars, karaoke parlors and quarantine facilities.

Phu said previously, the pandemic only broke out in a number of localities and the quarantine and lockdown work had proven effective. However, the latest wave is much more complicated as the coronavirus has ravaged many localities, requiring greater vigilance.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned of a catastrophe in Southeast Asia, saying if the preventive health system falls, the countries will face a medical collapse.

Notably, COVID-19 cases have been reported at 10 hospitals, including the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the National Cancer Hospital in Hanoi, during the fourth wave, forcing them to undergo lockdown. 

COVID-19: Vietnam on high alert as cases surge hinh anh 3Disinfecting the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases (Photo: VNA)

First COVID-19 vaccination death

Long said Vietnam has rolled out the largest-ever vaccination drive with 100 million doses, adding the health ministry has prepared scenarios and mobilised forces from different agencies for the campaign.

As of 4pm on May 9, up to 851,513 out of the 917,600 doses allocated had been administered to health workers, members of COVID-19 working groups and all-level steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control, public security forces and soldiers.

However, a 35-year-old female medical worker in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang died on May 7 of anaphylactic shock after receiving a dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine a day earlier.

Doctor Tu Quoc Tuan, Director of the provincial Department of Health, confirmed the death late on May 7, making this the first death from adverse reaction to COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam since the country started its inoculation drive using primarily AstraZeneca doses in early March.

The woman was working at Tan Chau Region General Hospital and received the vaccine shot on May 6.

After the injection, the patient went into shock and was treated by the Tan Chau Regional General Hospital in accordance with the regimen. The hospital also consulted with experts and doctors from the An Giang Province General Hospital and Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City via the online consultation system regarding the treatment.

She was then transferred to the An Giang Province General Hospital, and the Ministry of Health instructed the Cho Ray Hospital to send intensive care specialists there to provide emergency assistance, but the patient did not survive.

The official cause of death was registered as anaphylaxis, with an underlying condition identified as an allergy to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The health ministry’s notice said this is an extremely rare incident in regards to COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Defence” and “attack” in tandem

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said thanks to the active and effective engagement of all-level authorities and people, Vietnam has basically put the pandemic under control.

However, it is a must to stay vigilant against the pandemic, he said, reiterating the spirit of “fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy”.

To effectively combat COVID-19, Vietnam has shifted from the status of prevention to attack that requires strong measures, especially those regarding technologies, according to the PM.

He also stressed the significance of observing the 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering) and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.